Alex Rodriguez's 23-game hitting streak is over. The New York Yankees can't say the same about a slide that has dropped them into last place.
Tampa Bay pitching cooled off A-Rod, and Carl Crawford hit his first career grand slam to help rally the Devil Rays over Chien-Ming Wang and the visiting Yankees, 6-4, last night. The Yankees have now lost five straight games.
A night after hitting his 13th and 14th homers to tie the major league record for home runs in April, Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with a walk against Scott Kazmir and Shawn Camp, who struck out the New York slugger in final at-bat. Rodriguez had hit safely in 18 consecutive games to start the season and 23 straight dating to last September.
"The only thing I can tell this ballclub is you can't start forcing it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "If you're out there trying to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, it's going to come back and bite you."
Wang (0-1) allowed four runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the day. He departed after Dioner Navarro singled and B.J. Upton doubled to start the Devil Rays' seventh.
Reliever Luis Vizcaino walked Rocco Baldelli intentionally to load the bases. One out later, Crawford homered to erase a 3-2 deficit and give Tampa Bay a two-game sweep. Crawford went 4-for-4.
Juan Salas (1-1) got one out in relief of Kazmir, and Al Reyes pitched the ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
The Yankees (8-11), on their longest losing streak since a six-game slide from May 28 to June 3, 2005, went 0-5 on a trip that began with three losses at Boston and dropped into the AL East cellar, one-half game behind the Devil Rays. Tampa Bay swept New York for just second time in 52 series.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter left with a bruised left thigh after being hit in the side of the leg by a pitch in the first inning. He was checked by a trainer and spoke with Torre before walking to first base and remaining in the game until New York took the field for the bottom of the first.
Jeter said he expects to play tonight when the Yankees open a two-game series at home against Toronto.
Kazmir gave up a second-inning leadoff homer to Hideki Matsui and a single to Jorge Posada before retiring 12 in a row.
Before the game, Tampa Bay placed third baseman Akinori Iwamura on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain.
In other games:
* At Minneapolis, Johan Santana (3-2) lost his second straight home start and Fausto Carmona (1-2) got a long-awaited win in Cleveland's 5-3 victory over Minnesota.
Travis Hafner homered in the first inning for the Indians.
* At Boston, Vernon Wells went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and three RBI and Roy Halladay (3-0) struck out 10 in eight innings for Toronto, which defeated the Red Sox, 10-3.
Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun hurt himself trying to throw out a runner at second in the first. He will go on the 15-day disabled list.
* At Anaheim, Detroit closer Todd Jones' throwing error led to the winning run for the Angels, who blew a seven-run lead and still came away with a 9-8 win over the Tigers in 10 innings.
Kendry Morales led off the 10th with a chopping single off the plate that Jones (0-1) fielded before firing wildly past first base. After an intentional walk, the runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and the Tigers pulled the infield in. Second baseman Placido Polanco charged Erick Aybar's slow bouncer and threw high to the plate, allowing pinch-runner Reggie Willits to slide across with the winning run.
* At Baltimore, Dallas Braden allowed three hits over six innings to win his major league debut as Oakland defeated the Orioles, 4-2.
Orioles righthander Scott Williamson was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of tightness in his right triceps tendon.
* At Arlington, Texas, the Seattle Mariners vs. Rangers game was postponed by rain. It will be made up when the Mariners return to Texas, July 23-25, with the date to be announced later. *